Uganda’s anti-gay law has turned camps into prisons for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers


Uganda is home to the largest refugee population in Africa – and the third largest in the world – and has been widely praised for its progressive policies, which allow asylum seekers to work, start businesses, and move freely. However, a new law imposing harsher penalties on the country’s sexual minorities has made life harder for LGBTQ+ people who have taken refuge there and increased the risks they face if they leave the refugee settlements. Same-sex relationships were already illegal in Uganda. However, the Anti-Homosexuality Act signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on 22 March advanced the government’s long-running campaign against homosexuality. Engaging in homosexual acts can now result in a life sentence, and attempting to have same-sex relations can earn a 10-year prison term. There is even the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which includes same-sex relationships with HIV-positive people, and up to 14 years in prison for “attempted aggravated homosexuality”.

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